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The Last Live Brotherly Game Q&A Of 2011: The Transcript

On Monday we held a the last live Q&A on the Brotherly Game for the 2011 year. Some of the formatting got screwed up by the conversion to SBN. Here's the transcript:

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Brotherly Game's last live Q&A of the 2011 year. Ask your questions as we head even closer to the 2012 MLS season.

1:02 Comment From Greg O.

Yo Yo


1:02

That's not a question, Greg, but I appreciate it.

1:02

Comment From ScottyMac

Hi Scott, long time listener, first time caller here.

1:02

/610WIP'd

1:03

Comment From Rich

hate to beat a dead horse but Last week of the year and still no fixtures

1:04

But the team has made some significant acquisitions in the last week.

1:04

Comment From Kade

Can we still ask questions?

1:04

That's what I'm waiting for you all to do!

1:04

Comment From Greg O.

I dunno what the hang up is from the league this year. Most of the ducks are in a row as far as TV and the CBA. Which were very much in the air last year.

1:05

It's Major League Soccer. Have to think that they'll keep their word of producing the schedule by the end of this year, but it'll definitely be last minute like everything else in MLS.

1:06

Comment From Kade

How do you think the attendance will be this year? More or less?

1:07

Given that the Seattle home game killed the seasonal average for attendance because of the rain, I'd say that the team will probably sell out every game this year.

1:07

Comment From Rich

Like at 12:59 on Dec. 31

1:08

Pretty much exactly that, Rich.

1:08

Comment From ScottyMac

What's the over under on fan complaints on MLS playoffs?

1:08

I'd say about the same amount as last year.

1:08

Comment From Kade

Do you think we will take qualifying for the ccl more seriously this year due to the international signings?

1:08

Depends on whether or not Nowak decides to take the US Open Cup seriously.

1:09

Comment From Greg O.

What's the center of the midfield going to look like? Who starts at D mid...?

1:10

Another one of those questions that can depend on another factor - Nowak's constant shifting of the team's tactics. In a two CM system, clearly Carroll and Gomez are going to be the two main candidates, with Adu and Torres as the other possibilities. I see Gomez as a starter on the team no matter what formation. He has top CONCACAF experience and is versatile enough to fit into Nowak's plans. Defensive midfielder is Carroll's position to lose after a stellar 2011.

1:11

Comment From mrt

What's your best prediction at what the midfield looks like this year?

1:11

Garfan - Gomez/Carroll/Adu/Torres - Gomez/Carroll/Adu/Torres - Marfan

1:11

Comment From Kade

Do you know that if we have a home open cup game it will be at PPL?

1:12

I suspect that won't happen unless the team reached the final and won the hosting bid.

1:12

Comment From ScottyMac

Any word from the team on PPL Park expansion? Did all of that die off when Big East football gave 'Nova the bird?

1:12

The team basically said it was pursuing expansion because of high attendance to Union games, not because of 'Nova football. I suspect nothing has changed.

1:12

Comment From Rich

Are we gonna be a better depth team this season?

1:13

If the team picks up some defensive depth, then yes. Right now most of the rest of the team is prepared for the long haul.

1:13

Comment From Steve O

Will Shannon Williams get a new contract? Is he signed for the next year, Grossly underpaid at $42,000 with a bambino on the way.

1:14

Sheanon will make about $44,100 next year, because of the 5% yearly contract increases for players, if I'm not mistaken. He's going to get a new contract unless he wants to pursue a career overseas.

1:14

Comment From Kade

Where do you think it will be held?

1:14

RE: The Open Cup game: probably at the fields where the reserve games are held.

1:14

Comment From Greg O.

It's such a chicken and egg with the Cup as far as interest. It isn't on TV because there are no sponsors. There are no sponsors cause no TV

1:15

It's certainly a Catch-22 situation.

1:15

Comment From ScottyMac

Has the team let slip who the friendlies will be against? I know a lot of people are against them, but I think they're awesome.

1:16

A friendly against Saprissa was revealed by a Costa Rican news outlet. Otherwise, you're going to have to wait until closer to the summer because most European teams don't have their summer schedule figured out for another couple of months.

1:16

Comment From Steve O

Roger Torres? Should I invest in his new kit?

1:16

At this point, I have no idea. I've sent out inquiries to find out his situation, but haven't heard back from anyone yet.

1:17

Comment From mrt

What internationals are gone after the compliance date? Tait and Levi with no green card are obvious choices.... but would Paun, Torres, and Keon with a visa be on the chopping block as well?

1:17

If Levi gets a green card and the team gets international spots, it changes everything about the roster situation. It's wait and see at this point.

1:18

Comment From Steve O

How long does Shannon have left on his contract? Hate to lose him overseas.

1:18

Don't know for sure, but I'd guesstimate this upcoming season.

1:18

Comment From jon

There is no reason there wouldn't be a good sized crowd at PPL for a cup game. If that is our home, shouldn't all games be played there?

1:18

No other team hosts US Open Cup games at home until the Final, pretty much. They don't draw people.

1:19

Comment From Rich

Plus I don't want to be like Seattle where it's their only bragging point. "We've won three US Open Cups but no MLS Cups"

1:19

They get into the CCL because of it and have trophies. There's nothing wrong with that at all. Most teams wish they could say the same.

1:20

Comment From Kade

Where is Keon Daniel right now? Location wise..

1:20

Trinidad and Tobago.

1:20

Comment From Steve O

In regards to Roger the silence reminds us of MOF and his disappearing act.

1:21

Slightly different situation, since Valdes was coming already. I don't see Nowak keeping just Adu on the roster given Torres' skill set.

1:21

Comment From SmyrnaSwamp

So what's the draft plan? Central defense prospect to push Califf in a year or to replace Valdes should an outside team come calling?

1:22

I see the team taking a fullback and a center back in the draft. Or two center backs. They need depth and the draft will let them do it cheaply and domestically.

1:22

Comment From poolmy

Scott as we approach the New Year best wishes to you, you do a great job and it is appreciated.

1:22

Thank you for the kind words.

1:22

Comment From Rich

But would you go see the Union platy against a third division team from Nebraska

1:22

Because I cover the team, yes, but as a fan I don't think I would pay for that game.

1:22

Comment From ScottyMac

Keon and Waldo are in an undisclosed location

1:23

And Carmen Sandiego

1:23

Comment From Kade

Is there anyone we are In contact with representing him? Or Keon himself?

1:23

He has an agent who isn't talking about the situation.

1:24

Comment From jon

We've never had a home game in the cup though, a packed River End could open eyes. Maybe we would somehow get a home game every year.

1:25

It'd be a midweek game against either another MLS team or a third division squad. The team hasn't won the hosting bid for either of its Cup games. I don't see it being relevant enough for them to care about winning a hosting bid.

1:25

And by relevant I mean monetary wise.

1:25

Comment From Greg O.

Steve O. Was thinking the same thing. They just dropped it on people and shrugged when MOF was gone

1:26

That's the team's MO. Secrecy and then deniability. After that, "eh."

1:26

Comment From Riot71

Any more news on Okugo being wanted by a German club?

1:26

Just what Amobi himself has said.

1:26

Comment From jon

Why not? it's our team and it would be a good chance to see some of the other players get a run

1:27

Because to win a hosting bid the team has to put up more money than the other team to host the game. Hosting the game would cost money for stadium upkeep. That's a financial uncertainty until the finals of the tournament, when you'd be guaranteed a full stadium.

1:27

Comment From poolmy

You think we may see another forward DP prior to season start. We need some size and someone who can actually head the ball. Or might we see that be the summer pick up?

1:28

I don't think the team acquires anything more than a veteran forward making close to the minimum.

1:28

Comment From Rich

I think there's a bidding process to host though

1:28

There is a bidding process, one that the team has lost to NYRB (who don't care at all about the US Open Cup) and DC United.

1:28

Comment From SmyrnaSwamp

Face it, the USOC is undersold because MLS wants to put all its eggs in the MLS Cup basket. Any legitimacy for USOC besides a CCL slot detracts from what MLS is selling.

1:29

MLS doesn't control USOC. US Soccer controls it and fails to work with MLS properly.

1:29

Comment From Phil

Over-under on Martinez goals this year

1:29

5.5

1:29

Comment From ScottyMac

Petr learned well at the "Andy Reid School of Communications"

1:29

Time's yours.

1:30

Let's take a short break, but continue to send in questions. I'll answer them once we restart.

1:32

Comment From jon

The relationship between US Soccer and MLS is curious at best.

1:33

It is what it is at this point. US Soccer's administration needs an overhaul and MLS needs to work with it on improving the American game.

1:33

Comment From Riot71

Money ball works pretty well for MLS. I don't think we need another DP this year

1:33

"Another" - where's the first? That's the second comment about designated players and the Union. As far as we understand it, the team is paying down Adu's contract and Mondragon's contract, and Martinez's salary plus transfer fee is low.

1:34

Comment From Phil

Which offseason pick up will have the biggest impact

1:34

Based simply upon positional needs, the Lopez signing. It allows Garfan to move to left midfielder/left winger and gives the Union a lefty at left back.

1:34

Comment From Kade

How do you feel about the new schedule of only playing west teams once?

1:35

It certainly helps the Union. It means playing the weaker of the two conferences a lot more and extends the rivalries of DCU, NYRB and NER.

1:35

Comment From Kyle

What's the Unions situation with their 3rd goalkeeper? Will they pick someone up before preseason or just roll with 2?

1:36

I highly doubt you see any team roll through the season with only two goalkeepers in any league throughout the world. Look for Diego Restrepo or Chase Harrison to be the team's third GK.

1:36

Comment From Kade

Do you think new England should move to Boston and get a new stadium?

1:36

Not as long as Kraft is going to be the owner. He seems to not want to change the status quo of the team.

1:36

Comment From Riot71

when I said another I meant a

1:37

Ah, fair enough. I don't expect this team to have a "real" designated player until Nowak is no longer the head coach. He seems to like value over DP.

1:37

Comment From Kade

Me and my dad want to go to a game on the west coast this year, any you recommend?

1:37

Portland or Seattle, with the best choices being any combination of those two and Vancouver. Cascadia games are supposed to have amazing atmospheres.

1:38

Comment From Phil

Is there interest in Sheanon Williams from Europe?

1:38

He thought there was enough two years ago to find trials throughout Europe, before returning to the US and signing with the Islanders. If he has another good season, then expect to hear about "offers" rolling in from Europe.

1:38

Comment From ScottyMac

I guess the real question is, have they done enough? Will Martinez alone be enough up front to bolster scoring or do we need another forward? I say 'yes', even with Mwanga and Jack.

1:39

Just a vet, in case McInerney (u-23s) and Martinez (Costa Rica) are gone a lot for international duty.

1:39

Comment From Greg O.

If NE can move they should. Kraft needs to sell the team

1:40

I don't understand what they mean to him at this point. Are they a play thing? Are they a way for him to get into the soccer market before it explodes? What are they?

1:40

Comment From Rich

Any possible way we as supporters can get a rivalry cup created between the Union, DCU, NYRB and NER.

1:41

Look at what's happened in the Northwest with Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. Fans need to make it happen, so they need to start pushing for it to begin. The teams don't care as much as the fans about the rivalries off of the field.

1:41

Comment From Greg O.

We gonna get a forward who is an actual aerial threat?

1:42

Martinez is supposed to have some aerial abilities. I'm going to be talking to people who followed his career sometime in the next month for more specific information on Martinez.

1:42

Comment From Riot71

As do I. I just think it's sad how many fans see these signing and think "That's nice but that DP is just around the corner" When in reality Nowak is pretty much done. I think this is the right way but most will be upset when the season starts and there is no DP. Sad

1:42

Nowak is probably done with "name" signings this season. Expect minimum salary signings or draft picks from here on out.

1:43

Comment From Phil

Which forward combo do you see Nowak using the majority of the season?

1:43

My hope is Le Toux / Mwanga, but I see Le Toux / Martinez happening a lot. I don't think their styles of play will mesh well enough, though. Martinez is a withdrawn striker and Le Toux isn't a target one.

1:43

Comment From Kade

M thurk still interested?

1:44

I'm going to be writing an update on that situation soon. I'll put it this way: one party isn't interested.

1:44

Comment From Kyle

As the roster stands now, where do you predict the Union to finish in the Eastern Conference next season?

1:44

Second place. Even with Omar Bravo gone, Sporting Kansas City is still very, very strong.

1:44

Comment From Riot71

Don't you think that "vet" would be Paunstar? He would pretty much be on the bench given the depth of the mid field at its current state.

1:45

Does Paunstar remain with the lack of international roster spots, though?

1:45

Comment From Guest

If you had to guess. Over/Under on the number of minutes Mwanga plays this year?

1:45

1500, again.

1:46

Comment From Kade

How do you buy an international slot..?

1:47

Have to trade with another MLS team for one (or more). Allocation money, draft picks, players, etc can be sent in return for it.

1:47

Comment From Kyle

Can Khalfan push for a starting role with all the depth in the midfield?

1:47

He's not really starter quality. Too inconsistent to warrant such a role. Think of him as Salinas off of the bench with a better shot, much less defense.

1:47

Comment From Phil

How many minutes of Pfeffer this year?

1:48

500. I think he gets a lot of late game substitutions this year, a couple of starts.

1:48

Comment From Riot71

yes he does. My guess is we lose Torres Because of Cali.

1:49

Cali is more likely to want to sell Torres to make up for the loss of first division money, along with their current multi-million dollar debt.

1:49

Comment From Kade

Remember we traded Andrew Jacobson for a draft pick? What do you think we plan to do with that?

1:49

I can see them trading that pick for another international roster spot. Makes a lot of sense.

1:49

Comment From ScottyMac

When do Joe Tait jerseys go on clearance?

1:49

I'd say "be prepared" at this point for that, as nice of a guy as Joe is.

1:49

Comment From Kyle

What role does Jimmy play as the second homegrown signing? Similar to Pfeffer this past year?

1:50

Yes. He still has to develop his game for the next level. I watched him play Rutgers with Colgate and he was taken completely out of the game, but his frustration was that of a player who is highly ambitious and always wants the chance to move forward. That's a good quality to have.

1:53

Comment From Dean_Moroarty

Get inside Nowak's mind. Looks like we have more depth this year than ever, will the Union finally take the US Open more serious this year?

1:53

Not in hosting it, but perhaps in winning it.

1:53

Comment From ScottyMac

Don't get me wrong (snark aside), I'm rooting for him to stick.

1:54

As am I. He's been getting looked at from teams overseas, apparently.

1:54

Comment From ScottyMac

Seriously? You're scouting Rutgers v Colgate? Love the commitment. Maybe question the sanity, but absolutely love the commitment.

1:54

I go to Rutgers and Colgate just so happened to play them in the NCAA tournament this year. I basically showed up to the game and was given a press pass. Live tweeted it. Luck of the draw, really.

1:54

Comment From Greg O.

I've gone grey trying to get into Nowak's head...

1:55

"Get out while you still can!" moment.

1:56

Comment From Riot71

You don't think Cali might sell some of their beeter players and play Rodger (a cheaper option)?

1:56

Rodger has value to the Union and value to Cali in terms of money. They really need it right now.

1:57

Comment From ScottyMac

You totally should've played that off as "yes, blogging is my life". Ok, I'm out. Cmon the U! Let's do this before each match, maybe invite the inbreeders.. other teams supporters too.

1:58

I'll have to think about doing that. It's a lot of work and unless I end up with a press pass, it's close to impossible to do it during home games.

1:58

Comment From Dean_Moroarty

Any chance Gomez becomes a sort of utility defensive player? Allowing Williams, Lopez, and Carroll to rest more often and perhaps helping to keep the team fresher down the stretch? Or do you foresee him strictly playing a holding mid along with Carroll on the field?

1:58

It's definitely a possibility. He's apparently able to play all four defensive positions, along with a couple of midfield positions.

1:59

Comment From P. Nowak

Would you like a copy of my new book, "The Piotr Principles"? In it I explain what the hell I was thinking with each match lineup.

1:59

Ha!

2:00

That's going to just about do it for this edition of the Brotherly Game's live chat. Thanks for helping me with your questions for the past hour. It's been great.